The Barcelona attack revealed that the War on Terror was not over. That realisation should be emphasised by the fact that while the Barcelona attack was by crashing a moving van into a crowd, it was followed by knife attacks, in Finland, and in near-by Russia, in Skug. There was also an attack on a Turkish restaurant in Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in which 18 people were killed, which indicated that militants were all over.

While the Barcelona attack was apparently carried out by a Moroccan emigrant, the ones in Turku, Finland, and Skug cannot be blamed on local Muslims, because neither hosts a large number. However, they do indicate a future problem for Russia, and thus its East European neighbours, like Finland. Finland is also in the European Union, which means that while it receives no refugees, all those entering the EU can go there. This means a worsening of future Russian problems. These problems are the relative increase of Muslim ethnicities among the Russian population. At present overwhelmingly Russian, there are small but growing Chechen, Daghestani, Bashkir and Chuvash populations, mainly Muslim, and thus liable to provide recruits to militants. Russia has also opened its borders to allow citizens of other ex-Soviet republics to migrate to Russia and ultimately obtain citizenship. This is meant for ethnic Russians who want to come back, but there would also be some Muslims taking advantage of this.

Therefore, while the original attack on 9/11 occurred in New York, one can see the militants moving East. Barcelona is very much in the EU, as were the sites of earlier vehicle-ramming attacks, like London, Nice, Berlin and Stockholm. As they showed, these can be done on the cheap, using rented vehicles. The London attack was also combined with a knife attack, as used in Turku and Skug, as the driver of the vehicle got off and started stabbing people in the crowd. London was also the site of a response vehicle-ramming during Ramazan, on people returning from a mosque after taravih in London.

This kind of response came from the kind of people who killed a protester in Charlottesville, Maryland. She was protesting a protest. The original protest, of white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis, were protesting the removal of a statue of Gen Robert E Lee from a city park. There has been a movement all over the USA for the removal of Civil War statues and other memorabilia. This is because the white-supremacist movement sees the Civil War as between white supremacists and ‘nigger lovers’.

This is ahistorical. The Civil War was over states’ rights, not slavery. However, because the South was the centre of slavery in the USA, the Confederacy was a symbol of those who resisted the anti-racist movement. And it is perhaps part of the gyrations of history, that someone the white supremacists support, Donald Trump, is President. While he said there was something to be said on both sides, though avoiding any condemnation of his white-supremacist support group, there was also the sacking of that alt-right’s ideologue and man-in-the-White-House, Stave Bannon.

The story was not over at Charlottesville, for there was almost another clash in Boston, though there the white supremacists were demonstrating in favour of free speech, not some Civil War general. The strong representation of Southerners in the ranks of the US military has meant that the losing side in the Civil War is not viewed with as much distaste as is the case with other such internal conflicts. The recent drive to end Civil War symbols does not just violate Southern opinion, but also military opinion. The argument that this would mean a revision of history is not valid, for even if General Lee’s statue is removed, it does not take away any of the credit he enjoys as the winner of, say, the Battle of Chancellorsville (or the discredit of being the commander who surrendered at Appomattox). It is true that the Civil War is part of US military history, but then, so are the Indian Wars, which straddle the Civil War, and in which the US Army was the instrument through which the American whites slaughtered the Native American people, stole their lands and confined them to reservations.

Indeed, it is possible to see the US military in the middle of the 19th century, slaughtering Indians and in the 20th slaughtering Nazis. The beginning of the 19th century saw war with the UK, the War of 1812 when the White House was burnt by the British, when the USA emerged as the dominant power in the Americas. It entered World War I a century later, but emerged as the dominant power in the West, though it took World War II to make the UK, France and Germany ready to follow US’ lead. Now the beginning of another century sees the USA again at war, this time for the world domination it already has.

The Civil War was the one in which all Americans ended up serving on one side or another. It defined a generation, much as the Vietnam War defines the present. The defeat in Vietnam War is partially reflected in the defeat of one side in the Civil War. Indeed, the Civil War allowed Americans to have it both ways: With the North they can be triumphant conquerors, with the South they can be noble in defeat. Of course, this only applies to whites. And thus, the white supremacist love affair with the South, and the legend of the undefeated South.

That Trump hedged on neo-Nazis put a US President in the position of expressing sympathy for one of the USA’s enemies in World War II, the Nazis. This is perhaps worsened by the Nazis’ anti-Jewish ideology, and it should not be forgotten that the Holocaust, which Jews have used to garner European support, was perpetrated by the Nazis.

And in all this terrorist activity, what of that epicentre of terrorism, Pakistan? Though the world has been rocked by militant attacks, Pakistan has not. All that Pakistan has seen is the visit of a high-level US delegation, headed by CENTCOM Commander Gen Joseph Votel, who was not present at the Camp David meeting where President Trump decided on his Administration’s policy in Afghanistan. Members of government were falling over themselves proving how much had been done to end militancy, like former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, while the opposition blamed the government for not doing it right, like PPP Senator Sherry Rehman calling the government’s foreign policy a ‘flop’.

However, the new Trump policy only seems to offer a strategy that did not work before. The only new element is that the the USA is no longer going to go along with the government’s policy of hunting with the hounds and running with the hares. The banning of the Hizbul Mujahideen was a sign that the USA will follow the desire of its new-found Indian ally to treat the Kashmiri liberation struggle as militancy, to be suppressed as brutally as the Afghan freedom struggle. The militaries on both sides have avoided a sharp break, but it has begun.

This puts the government at odds with the USA, for not only has the government got to show itself as being on the US side in the war on militancy, but it must show itself as being so without any reservations, which in turn means subscribing to the white-supremacist narrative that the Trump Administration is following. The almost overt racism of the Trump Administration might highlight to Pakistanis that they are brown, not white. They should realise that Trump’s distaste is not for Islam, but the fact that most Muslims are not white.